House Releases FY2016 Budget Proposal with Significant Investments in Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programs

House Releases FY2016 Budget Proposal with Significant Investments in Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 1, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) – On Wednesday, April 29th, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed its $38.1 billion FY2016 statebudget proposal(link is external).

The House budget funds the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and other housing programs at $442.2 million. The budget includes increased investments in proven programs that help keep families in their homes and prevent homelessness, including:

  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP): $90.1 million for MRVP, an increase of $25.1 million over FY2015 funding. This significant increase will fund up to 700 new vouchers in addition to the 6,665 vouchers already assisting low-income families and individuals.
  • HomeBASE: An additional $2.3 million over the current fiscal year spending for HomeBASE, a program that provides an alternative to shelter by giving stabilization services and up to $8,000 in financial assistance to pay rent, utility bills, security deposits, and other expenses that allow families to stay in their homes, move to new housing, or live with another family.
  • Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT): The House budget includes an additional $1 million in funding for RAFT over FY2015. RAFT enables families that experience unemployment or other challenges to avoid homelessness through an array of assistance necessary to maintain housing or move into their next home.
  • Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs): The House restored funding for HCECs, which received unexpected cuts in FY2015.  HCECs are critical to the housing delivery system by helping families facing immediate housing crises by assess their circumstances and referring them to available resources, such as RAFT and HomeBASE.
  • Housing and Preservation Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF): The House budget included $11.5 million in funding for HPSTF, which provides DHCD with greater flexibility to create affordable housing and provide additional funds for new and existing programs.
  • Community Preservation Trust Fund: The budget includes $10 million for the CPA Trust Fund, to be transferred from the FY15 state budget surplus. These funds would provide a much-needed increase to the trust fund distribution received by CPA communities that can help with affordable housing projects.

Other housing programs were level funded, including the Alternative Housing Voucher Program and the Tenancy Preservation Program.

Click here for a full listing of housing programs listed by budget line-item.

The budget process now shifts to the State Senate, which is expected to release its budget during the second week of May. The House and Senate will then meet to negotiate the differences between their two budgets before sending a compromise budget to the Governor for his review.

CHAPA thanks all the members of the House of Representatives for their strong support of affordable housing. We would like to particularly thank Speaker Robert DeLeo, the members of the House Committee on Ways and Means, led by Chairman Brian Dempsey, and Chairman Kevin Honan of the Joint Committee on Housing, for their leadership and continued dedication to making sure that every person in the Commonwealth has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home.

For more information on housing programs in the state budget, please contact Eric Shupin at eshupin (at) chapa (dot) org

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